Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Mass spectrometry (MS) of intact soluble protein complexes has emerged as a powerful technique to study the stoichiometry, structure-function and dynamics of protein assemblies. Recent developments have extended this technique to the study of membrane protein complexes, where it has already revealed subunit stoichiometries and specific phospholipid interactions. Here we describe a protocol for MS of membrane protein complexes. The protocol begins with the preparation of the membrane protein complex, enabling not only the direct assessment of stoichiometry, delipidation and quality of the target complex but also the evaluation of the purification strategy. A detailed list of compatible nonionic detergents is included, along with a protocol for screening detergents to find an optimal one for MS, biochemical and structural studies. This protocol also covers the preparation of lipids for protein-lipid binding studies and includes detailed settings for a quadrupole time-of-flight (Q-TOF) mass spectrometer after the introduction of complexes from gold-coated nanoflow capillaries.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Protoc

Publication Date





639 - 651


Detergents, Indicators and Reagents, Mass Spectrometry, Membrane Proteins, Phospholipids, Protein Binding, Protein Structure, Tertiary